Film Critic Gets Slammed by Studio for Positive Review of Its Movie



Sorta. Seems the New Yorker published David Denby’s two-thumbs-up take on David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a tad early for the taste of Scott Rudin, one of the film’s producers:

[Y]ou simply have to be good for your word. Your seeing the movie was conditional on your honoring the embargo, which you agreed to do. The needs of the magazine cannot trump your word. The fact that the review is good is immaterial, as I suspect you know. You’ve very badly damaged the movie by doing this, and I could not in good conscience invite you to see another movie of mine again, Daldry or otherwise. I can’t ignore this, and I expect that you wouldn’t either if the situation were reversed. I’m really not interested in why you did this except that you did — and you must at least own that, purely and simply, you broke your word to us and that that is a deeply lousy and immoral thing to have done.

Early screenings are granted to critics on the condition that they embargo their reviews until a certain date, even if the reviews are good. Often the filmmakers are still tinkering with the product at the time of the screenings, and early reviews may be based on a version of the film that audiences will never see.

Denby had what to him, and I’m sure to many of his colleagues, seemed like good reasons for running early with his review—but Rudin is right. The New Yorker critic agreed to play by the rules but didn’t, and not just because there’s a bottleneck of “adult” films at the end of the year and the magazine had tight deadlines. He also wanted to be one of the first critics out there with a word on an eagerly anticipated thriller, a re-visioning of the bestselling Stieg Larsson novel that had already been successfully (and terrifyingly) adapted for the screen by Swedish director Niels Arden Oplev.

Oh well. Denby can always stand on line opening day like the rest of the 99 percent.